Attracting Gamefish with Flashers
Many fish, just like humans, are drawn to flashy, glittering, and glimmering objects. This is especially true for gamefish, as a streak of silver in the water resembles their beloved baitfish. When it comes to our top gamefish, the salmon, there is no doubt that flashers are the most successful tool for catching them.
A fishing flasher is a simple yet effective device consisting of a thin, shiny piece of metal or plastic. It is trolled through the water ahead of your lure or bait to grab the attention of the fish. The salmon flasher is a specialized version of this trolling flasher.
Mastering the Art of Flashing
To truly maximize your success and enjoyment on the water, there is more to flashing than simply attaching it in front of your favorite salmon lures and baits. FISH307 provides some invaluable tips on how to create the perfect salmon trolling set-up using flashers. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, these recommendations will enhance your chances of reeling in more salmon.
Rule #1: Rig it Frontwards
One common mistake made by first-time flasher users is trolling them backward. It’s important to remember that the narrow, tapered end is the front of the flasher. This is the part that should be tied to the front of your leader, which is attached to your main fishing line. The wide rear section of the flasher creates strong vibrations that attract salmon. Attach your tail leader to this section and then add your lure or hook at the end.
This flasher-rigging section is divided into six informative parts, each providing insights into different aspects of flashers that can help you catch more salmon.
Rigging Conventional 8″ and 11″ Flashers
Conventional 8″ and 11″ flashers have been trusted by sport and commercial fishermen for many years. When rigged correctly, they are the most effective salmon-catching devices in the world. These brightly colored plastic flashers adorned with colored tape on both sides offer various options, including embossed silver tape and glow-in-the-dark tape. Experimenting with different colors under different conditions can yield the best results.
Typical Flasher Rigging
Front Leader Lengths
The distance between your downrigger release and the front of the flasher can range between 15 and 30 feet. A longer front leader allows the flasher ample room to spin, enhancing its action. In restricted conditions, anglers may opt for a shorter front leader, as short as six feet. Lengths exceeding 30 feet are uncommon and unnecessary.
Tail Leader Lengths
The tail leader length is crucial when rigging a flasher accurately. It refers to the distance between the back of the flasher and the bait or lure. A tail leader that is too long or too short may not trigger strikes effectively. Experienced commercial fishermen often adjust their tail leader lengths repeatedly to achieve the desired catch. Even a few inches can make a significant difference. Recommended tail leader lengths depend on the lure or bait used and the salmon species targeted. After years of research, FISH307 recommends the following tail leader lengths:
Hoochies or Flies:
- 11″ flasher: 36 to 50 inches
- 8″ flasher: 20 to 27 inches
Bait or Lures:
- Chinook Salmon:
- 11″ flasher: 42 to 60 inches
- 8″ flasher: 26 to 48 inches
- Coho Salmon:
- 11″ flasher: 24 to 42 inches
- 8″ flasher: 22 to 48 inches
- Chinook Salmon:
(1) The Chinook (king) salmon distances also apply to Mackinaw (lake trout) and halibut.
The above diagram assumes the use of a downrigger, which allows anglers to extend their front leader up to 30 feet. This way, they can reel the flasher up to the tip of their fishing rod when netting a salmon. When using drop sinkers, dipsey divers, or other planers, the front leader length is restricted to five or six feet. This arrangement still works, but it limits the flasher’s rotation arc and tail kick. Research suggests that anglers without downriggers may achieve better results with flashers like the Pro-Troll ProChip, which has a built-in agitator for enhanced action with a shorter front leader.
Some anglers prefer not to tie the flasher onto their fishing line to avoid drag during the retrieve when a fish is hooked. In such cases, they directly tie the flasher to the downrigger weight with an additional cord. The fishing line is then hooked up four or five feet up the cable, using a downrigger release. The flasher acts as an attractor without interfering with the process of landing a salmon.
Choosing the Right Flasher Size
Pro-Troll offers both eight-inch and eleven-inch conventional flashers with EChips, both of which work well. However, if you’re fishing with bait or a spoon, the eleven-inch model is usually more effective. The tail kick and vibrations from the flasher are what attract salmon, so be cautious not to use a lure that is too heavy, as it may reduce the tail kick to a small wiggle, making it less appealing to salmon. The eleven-inch model is better suited for heavier bait setups and spoons, while the eight-inch model works excellently with small, lightweight hoochies or flies.
With these expert tips and the right flasher rigging, you’ll significantly increase your odds of catching more salmon. So get out there, try different rigs, and enjoy the thrill of a successful fishing expedition!